Real estate is an industry that stands alone. There is no typical career trajectory for an agent, and even the “hiring” process is unique. It is a very different feeling starting in real estate and realizing that you are the product. In typical career paths, you interview and compete for a job opening, and work your way up the ladder. In real estate, once you graduate from real estate school, you are in high demand.
The high demand for agents puts real estate agents in a unique position of power and responsibility. It is essential to do your homework and interview at a few brokerages, and not commit to the first one that offers you the world.
- DECIDE BETWEEN A BOUTIQUE OR A FRANCHISE BROKERAGE
It may seem more attractive to choose a boutique brokerage based on the promise of more personal attention and training but beware of the downside of going small. In a small brokerage, you make fewer sales and have less “top of mind” awareness. You could be a big fish in a little pond, but the pond will continue to narrow with fewer sales in the long run.
At a more massive franchise, each office is independently owned and operated, so you are not just a number. You may belong to a more extensive network than a boutique, but each office is autonomous. It is essential to look at the websites of brokerages you are considering. While browsing a broker’s site, feel whether it’s easy to use, generally forward-thinking and innovative. A well-designed, user-friendly website reflects the importance of customer service and attracting new customers on behalf of the broker.
- RESEARCH THE BROKERAGE REPUTATION
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a few local brokerages, enlist the help of other experts. There are so many local companies and vendors intertwined with local real estate companies; it’s easy to solicit honest feedback. You can start with other real estate agents and ask them how they feel about their current brokerage or branch out from there. Ask local firms about their experience when dealing with the brokerage and the agents who work for them, such as mortgage companies, title companies, home inspectors, or real estate lawyers.
Many brokerages are well known for certain things or do a great job of filling a particular niche. Research what your prospective brokerage’s strengths are. Determine the power and effectiveness of their training, technology, and marketing systems. Top-notch training is the formula that sets great agents apart and allows them to sharpen their skills or attain new designations.
- UNDERSTAND THE BROKER’S EXPECTATIONS OF YOU
From a scheduling perspective, real estate agents conversely have a lot of freedom and very little. Some brokerages have an in-office requirement of their agents to cover “floor time”, open houses, and class training. Find about all the details and the fine print of your commission split and fees, equipment use, and benefits packages.
- DECIDE CAREFULLY
Arm yourself with knowledge and don’t be intimidated or pressured into deciding on the spot. Talk with as many brokers as you can before you choose. The right brokerage is out there ready to help you take your career to the next level!